Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to Jonas Sjödén, chief financial officer at Live Nation Sweden
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Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to Natalie Rudland, senior promotions assistant at Live Nation UK
By IQ on 11 Aug 2022
The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) last month.
The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Nikos Kalozeas, a music agent at UTA in the UK.
The series continues with Natalie Rudland (she/her/hers), senior promotions assistant at Live Nation UK.
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Returning to work full-time after having my son was a huge personal triumph. My wife and I underwent IVF treatment just before Covid hit and we were in lockdown throughout my pregnancy and I gave birth in September 2020. The whole experience was bizarre, being locked up at home for the whole nine months. I felt extremely lucky to be so heavily supported by Live Nation throughout.
Returning to work after maternity leave filled me with crippling anxiety and I think being at home since March 2020 and going through a huge personal life change such as becoming a mum was slightly overwhelming, to say the least. I would sit up late at night and panic about the decision to return, whether I could be both a good employee and mum. I envisioned only being able to be 50% of the employee I once was; I thought I would be seen as someone who chose family over their career (ridiculous I know) and would be treated as such.
I feel so proud to have got into the swing of working mum life and to have returned to a company so supportive of new parents. Live Nation has given me the space I need to settle back into the role whilst always being there to support and encourage me as my career continues to progress and flourish.
“Never make yourself smaller for anyone”
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Never make yourself smaller for anyone. Be loud and proud about who you are and never accept anyone taking you for anything less. Surround yourself with people who empower and inspire you. I think enjoying the journey and knowing that it’s never linear is key. Make mistakes and learn from them. And always remember it’s okay to move on from opportunities that no longer fill your cup.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I won’t get into the time I sent around a company email with “Sorry for any incontinence” instead of “Sorry for any inconvenience” – that was a very bad day! I think my best ‘mistake’ was having a case of word vomit with a previous boss. Before I joined Live Nation I worked at a talent agency, it was my first job out of university and was an incredible opportunity. I was there for around four years before I realised that I wanted to move on and try my hand at something new.
I remember oversharing with my boss at the time that I was no longer happy and was desperate to leave the company and move on. I came away from his office that day asking myself why on earth I was so honest about it, and if I was too honest about it. I was utterly convinced he would fire me that day or ask HR [human resources] to exit me, as someone who was not fully committed to the company. At the time I thought it was a huge mistake to open up.
A little while later, the same boss came to me with a job opening he had heard about at Live Nation, he got me in touch with the right people and made sure an interview was arranged. And that’s how I ended up working at Live Nation – mistakenly oversharing. Now looking back, I realise that it’s a fantastic thing to be able to have open and honest conversations with your line managers, I’m so thankful to that boss (who may be reading this, hello).
“My personal experience as a lesbian in the industry has always been great and I have never felt like I need to hide who I am”
Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
The need to ‘come out’ to new people constantly can be a little awkward, especially when new people ask about my son. I have had a few “So who’s the dad?” or people referring to our sperm donor as the “father”. I wouldn’t say that is industry specific of course, people are naturally curious and often don’t know what terms to use.
I’m always more than happy and often excited to chat about it and our journey of becoming a two-mum family. Besides that, I work with incredibly inclusive, diverse, and wonderfully kind people. My personal experience as a lesbian in the industry has always been great and I have never felt like I need to hide who I am in order to progress and succeed.
One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place?
Give more queer artists and industry professionals the platforms to continue to thrive and excel. Our industry is moving in the right direction to support, protect and project queer people, it needs to keep going, keep pushing and keep being a safe space for people to be their true authentic selves.
“I’m dying to see Lil Nas X, I reckon I could recite to you the whole Montero album word for word”
A cause you support
There is a wonderful charity called Mermaids that supports non-binary, transgender and gender-diverse children and youth. I have been a huge supporter of their work for a long time. Our children are our future, and the young people in the UK today are such a special, strong, passionate generation. I love that there are organisations like Mermaids that support young people through the journey of exploration of their gender identity, free from judgement, fear and isolation. Let’s keep learning from our youth, listening to them and always providing safe, loving spaces for them to be themselves.
The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
Ashnikko hands down is my number one. I missed her earlier this year and was kicking myself. When that opportunity arises again I’m first in line – her genre-bending, infectious earworms are on a constant loop in my headphones. I’m also dying to see Lil Nas X, I reckon I could recite to you the whole Montero album word for word, it’s my go-to to get me in a great mood.
Your favourite queer space
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is host to a wonderful array of alternative entertainment. It’s always a super fun night out, and often quite ridiculous. The staff there have created a beautifully inclusive, safe space. Mighty Hoopla is another brilliant space for queer people. The festival is an explosion of glitter, pop, colour and drag. It’s infectiously camp, couldn’t recommend it enough.
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